Wild String

Alyssa Wood is just beginning to knit her career together

I happened upon twenty-five year old Alyssa Wood’s website this week, and my eyes opened a little wider than usual.  Her young, inventive, irreverent talent has been honed at NYC’s FIT and London’s Central Saint Martins and the Italian fashion institue called Polimoda  – but that doesn’t explain the flare and coherence of the few products she features on the site.  I tracked Alyssa down and she answered a few questions for HAND/EYE.
Describe what you do?  Developing knitwear as fashion and photo props, as you say on your site, sounds too good to be true.
I am still discovering what it is I do.  I am freelancing a lot with different designers, sculptors, and even scientists who all constantly challenge and change what it is that defines my work.  I do love the creativity and constant invention that fashion has to offer, but it feels good to collaborate with people who have no idea when fashion week is or what makes a trend.  It's difficult these days to really survive on my personal work alone since each of my pieces takes months to make.  But it's definitely a rewarding line of work.
How did focusing on knitwear at the great schools you attended shape your outlook?
Each school is located in a different country, which brought about so many different elements, besides the institution itself, that helped shape my outlook.  For instance, Central Saint Martins in London attracts the best students from all over the world and really allows the individual to learn design through their own process of trial and error.  The Fashion Institute of Technology took a different approach by pushing the technical trade of design and the realistic limits of what the New York industry has to offer.  Because of living abroad, I have gained perspective of what amazing intelligent talent there is out in the world.  
What are you working on right now?  is it knitted, macrame, crocheted? 
Currently I am creating some VERY long and difficult pieces for a showing in September (hopefully.)  I am using macrame and knitting techniques along with tailoring and embroidery.  It sounds like a mess, but I am eager to see how it develops.  
Which project s or has been your favorite?  
It's difficult for me to choose a favorite because I haven't created a big enough body of work to really reflect.  Also, each piece is very time consuming.  By the time I am done, I am sick of looking/talking/thinking about it.  I need to figure out a way to cut down on time.  I guess my favorite is yet to be made.  
Are there other knit designers/makers whose work you admire?  Why?
I actually am amazed at the bloggers and the youtube knitters out there.  I spend hours and hours looking at all their dedicated research and the time the devote to showing the world the craft of knitting.  It's quite amazing and I hope to be able to share my work with the world in the same way.  My favorite is knitkicks.co.uk.
Where do you shop for wool?
I think Wool and the Gang has great quality wool.  I tend to wander into the yarn shops all over NYC and Brooklyn, but they tend to be hidden and I never can find them again.
What do you think of DIY knitting?
That’s how I have always done it.  There is no better way to learn! 
Where do you get you inspiration?  
I try not to search for inspiration.  I feel that an inspiration can become forced and calculated, which can take away from the whole creative process.  Instead, I will put myself in situations that allow me to become inspired.  I traveled to Salvador da Bahia for my senior collection.  One of my favorite feelings is that moment of clarity when you discover the idea and how you can translate it into something physical.  There are no words for that.
Visit www.alyssawood.com for a little more about Alyssa.



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